An unidentified man wielding a knife attacked civilians in the Church of Notre Dame in the French city of Nice. Three people were killed, several others were hospitalised with injuries. According to unconfirmed reports, one of the victims was beheaded. The police detained the criminal. The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, called the incident a terrorist attack.
The attack took place at around 09:00 a.m. local time (11:00 a.m. Moscow time). The attacker was detained ten minutes after the incident. The police said that two of the three victims died inside the cathedral. The attacker was also injured and hospitalized.
Le Figaro's source in the police said that the perpetrator beheaded one of the victims, although it remains unclear whether it was a woman or an elderly man.
Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said the attack was carried out by a radicalized Muslim individual, who, according to the mayor, shouted "Allahu Akbar" even when he was receiving medical assistance after being detained. He described the attack as a manifestation of Islamic fascism.
"We need to eradicate Islamic fascism throughout the country at any cost," the mayor said. He said that all Christian churches and other sites of worshipping would be closed in the city for a while. Additional measures will also be taken to ensure the safety of churches.
Estrosi originally reported that two people were killed and another one was in critical condition as a result of the attack. However, then he announced about the killing of three people. The attacker himself was hospitalized too, his condition is assessed as serious. "We have not yet identified the barbarian yet," the mayor of Nice stated.
Vigipirate counter terrorist plan was implemented at the highest possible level throughout France after the attack in the church of Nice, said Prime Minister Jean Castex.
"The government's response will be firm, merciless and immediate. I have already decided to implement Vigipirate plan at the level of "terrorist attack alarm" throughout the country," the French prime minister said, speaking at the French National Assembly. Noteworthy, this is the highest level of Vigipirate plan.
The prime minister also stressed that President of France Emmanuel Macron would convene the meeting of the Security Council on Friday morning.
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a telegram of condolences to French President Emmanuel Macron after the terrorist attacks in France, the Kremlin press service reported.
"The cynical and cruel crime committed within the walls of the church causes particular indignation. We could once again see that human morality is absolutely alien to terrorists. It is obvious that the fight against international terror requires unification of efforts of the entire world community," the telegram reads.
After the brutal killing of French teacher Samuel Paty, who showed Charlie Hebdo caricatures to his students as part of a course on freedom of speech, Macron stated that he would tighten control over organizations that spread ideas of radical Islam and infringe on the core values of French society. He also promised to tighten control over the funding of mosques. Macron also spoke about the crisis of Islam around the world and promised to change laws to further separate religion from the state.
Macron's statements sparked actions of protests in several countries in the Middle East. Turkish President Recep Erdogan twice offered Macron to have his head examined and urged Turkish citizens to boycott French goods. Brussels condemned Erdogan's statements, while a representative of the European Commission noted that Erdogan's calls for boycott of goods of a EU member state would not bring Turkey closer to the European Union. The Foreign Ministry of Saudi Arabia condemned the murder of the French teacher, but urged Paris not to associate Islam with terrorism.
On October 27, an action in support of the Prophet Muhammad took place in East Jerusalem. In the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka, about 40,000 people marched to the French embassy, burned the image of Macron and also called for a boycott of French products.
On October 27, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif summoned French Chargé d'Affaires Florent Aydalot and expressed a note of protest to him in connection with the position of Paris on the right to publish cartoons about Islam. The French ambassador was also summoned to the Pakistani Foreign Ministry. The prime minister of Pakistan accused Macron of deepening the split in the society. The Pakistani parliament passed a resolution condemning the publication of cartoons and images of Prophet Muhammad.